Body Types

As much as we would like to believe it, the cute behind we see in the movie shower scene probably doesn’t belong to Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. We all know that body doubles often replace Hollywood stars in risky or revealing scenes. In the movie of your life, who would be cast as your body double?

Would it be Uma Thurman or David Carradine from Kill Bill or is it more likely to be Roseanne Barr or John Goodman from classic TV’s Roseanne show? Do you look more like Kate Moss or Kate Winslet? Jennifer Lopez or Jennifer Hudson? Woody Allen or Tiger Woods?

If you could quit your day job, would you be most suited by body size and shape to be a supermodel, a pro athlete, or a sumo wrestler? These are extreme examples, but the point is that bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can’t do anything to change the basic build determined by your genetic makeup but you can work with your body type to achieve the fittest, healthiest body possible. Understanding your body type can help you find a conditioning program that suits you best. It can also help you to get the most benefit out of your Pilates and save you from endless frustration with exercises that just don’t suit your body type.

Three Basic Body Types

One system of categorizing bodies divides us into three main body types:

  1. ectomorph – supermodels are the extreme of this body type
  2. mesomorph – the all-round athlete, like a body builder or football player
  3. endomorph – sumo wrestlers are the far end of the scale

The following chart compares some of the physical characteristics of these three types. You may recognize some of your characteristics in more than one of the body types. We’ve all seen people who are perfect examples of these distinct body types but many of us have a combination of characteristics.

Body Type Ectomorph Mesomorph Endomorph
General Shape or Impression Long, narrow, lean, “loosely strung together” Solid, square, muscled, athletic, sturdy and “tightly strung together” Rounded, soft, curvy
Body Proportions Hips wider than shoulders Shoulders broader than hips Shoulders wider than hips but difference can be masked by excess weight
Overweight and Out of Shape Excess weight carried on hips and thighs“Pear” Extra pounds will settle into the waist line“Apple” Excess weight tends to be evenly distributed
Bone Structure Bone tissue is fragile, less dense; long bones are longer Dense, sturdy bone structure Medium-sturdy bone structure
Connective Tissue Loose Tight Medium
Muscular System Inefficient Very efficient, well-developed Good
Other Features Very sensitive to stimuli and pain, tendency to high level of tension High adrenaline levels give high energy but able to relax easily Low metabolic rate and low sensitivity to stimuli and pain
Posture Often poor due to loose connective tissue and weak musculature Excellent due to dense connective tissue & strong musculature Generally good